Doh, a Deer

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So, when I arrived home after rehearsal Tuesday night, there was a family of deer hanging out in my front yard, and they were huge.  They saw the headlights from my truck, and looked puzzled.  I beeped my horn to remind them that they don’t own the yard, and to move along, which they had no problem doing.  this is the second time I have encountered deer in Cary, in the yard.  I have no problem with it, it is just a little strange to see.  I like that my yard is a wild animal kingdom.  I even got video of two squirrels doin IT in the front yard.  It was hilarious.

The hotel we are staying at in PA would not take our check to pay for the rooms.  They would not take a credit card, either, without a ton of hassle.  Plan C has been enacted, but I was kind of looking forward to Plan D, which was to fill up a tuba case with $3,000 worth of pennies and pay for the rooms in CASH.  What a ridiculous run around this was this week.  I feel very bad for our treasurer who was awesome in helping to get this worked out.  Above and Beyond, Stan… Thank you.

The Triangle Youth Brass band goes on tour Thursday Morning.  it will be a wonderful time.  I will tell you all about it when I get back, or, maybe some while we are away.

Senior Recital

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A new student of mine at NC Central gave his senior recital Sunday night.  Austin worked extremely hard for this recital, and overcame some serious obstacles.  he has had several teachers over his time at Central, including a new one his senior year.  Consistent teaching has not been a reality for him, which is a shame.  he has great potential as a musician and teacher.  He needed to get out of here, though.  So we worked to satisfy the recital requirement, and he killed himself to be successful at it.  Many Congrats to Austin!!! Nicely done!!!!


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Or lack there of.  TYBB had a tour rehearsal tonight that I had to cancel because the power was out at Salem MS.  This is not good.  We need to rehearse, and it will have adverse affects on our performance on tour.  I am really bummed that this opportunity was missed.  We don’t get second chances.  Instead, we have to cram Tuesday night and it wont be as relaxed or fun.  Shame.


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The TYBE is on their way home from Louisville, KY right now.  They went there to play, watch, learn and bond.  Brass band trips are always a lot of fun, and I am a little bummed I did not make this trip.  With going on the TYBB trip this week, and the chance to play Carmina Burana, I felt I needed to stick around while they went.  It was an easier decision knowing that Jon Caldwell is so capable.  He does a really good job with that group.  I just like going to NABBA and hearing all of the great brass bands play.  I missed it.

The TYBE, by all accounts, did a really good job.  That group is growing fast, and making a nice reputation for itself, and I could not be prouder.  The trip ran smoothly, which tends to be the norm.  I look forward to seeing them all when they get back.  I will meet the bus when it arrives.

Carmina Burana

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Last night was the concert for Carmina Burana with the Tar River Orchestra and Chorus.  We did two rehearsals and pulled it off quite nicely.  Al Sturgis (NC Master Chorale and Carolina Ballet) conducted and did a fine job.  The crowd was small but appreciative.  I wonder if doing more orchestral concerts there in Rocky Mount would garner more interest in the public coming to see it.

This was the first time I have played Carmina Burana.  I really like the tune, and it was fun to figure out some of the odd things the tuba has to do in this, like octave E leaps and octave D leaps above the staff.  It is also a test to sustain long and loud, and to provide some serious downbeats, which I did.

One of these days I will get this tune arranged for brass band.   This would be fun to do and also a big challenge for any band.

I won’t be playing tuba much for a couple weeks.  TYBB goes on tour this week, so I will be spending a lot of time working that out.  IN April I have a Britten War Requiem to play that I am looking forward to.

Back Again

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Ok, it is time to get back to blogging.  I took some time off because I wanted to get a few things worked out before I talked about them in public.  I wanted to be able to make some decisions about things without a lot of controversy or discussion.  The decision was mine, and I didn’t really want a lot of people to know about it until it actually happened.  Well, it has, and now the near future is set in its course now.

Yes, I am talking about the Triangle Brass Band Music Director position.  I discuss this process in a previous post.  What happened with this process was going to have a lot to do with some other things that I have been doing.  So, now I will be Directing the TBB, the TYBB, and watching over the whole organization.  We will see if I can handle the work load next season before I make a decision about changing anything.  There is a scenario out there that may have me leaving the youth band, although it is unlikely to happen this season, or next season.  The right person to take that band over has to come out for me to move on, and I am not quite ready to leave that band as of yet.  I don’t know that I ever will want to leave it.  It is so much fun.

So, there have been some very interesting changes in the last year or so.  Leaving Green Hope and not working with their marching band anymore, adding on the NC Central teaching job, now the Triangle Brass Band… Good things.  I have to adjust some things in order to make this happen now, but some of these changes are actually good for me.

So, you can look for regular blog updates from now on, and I will try to document the process of taking the TBB in a new direction, from the inside out.

PS- I am going to win the NCAA Tournament Pool that I am in.  It hurts to say this, but Go Carolina…win me some money.

Good News- Triangle Brass Band

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I have been involved with the TBB ever since I moved to North Carolina in 1999. I played in the band for three years, and I have been directing the youth band for eight years. The Music Director for TBB is moving to Maryland and stepped down, opening that position. The band did a search and I won the search, so starting in August, I will take over as Music Director of the Triangle Brass Band.

When I applied in November, I gave myself about a 1% chance of winning the job, based on the level of talent they had auditioning. They had several really good choices available to them. I went through an interview, then an audition. The interview went pretty well. If was pretty much as I expected it to be, a lot of visionary type questions. I was happy to be invited to audition, and I ended up slotting as the last one to audition. We were given two selections to conduct and rehearse with the band, and an entire Wednesday evening rehearsal to do it. The first selection was Edward Gregson’s Plantagenets, beginning up to rehearsal number 5. We also were to select a tune from this list: Amazing Grace, Nimrod, Colonial Song. I selected Amazing Grace. After the first two candidates auditioned, I was given a score to the rest of Plantagenets and asked to rehearse from there.

The actual audition was last Wednesday and went really well. My plan was to just simply do what I do with a brass band. I listened to Plantagenets on my iPod a lot, and looked over the score to come up with a plan of attack. I started off the rehearsal with my tuning and choral routine, working on listening, balance, tuning and ensemble playing. I did not get too deep into this, but just enough, I thought, for the band to see that I will be working on that element, and how I do it. Then I started at the end of Plantagenets and worked backwards. I did a bit of balance and ensemble things in the music, as well as bringing out important lines. We picked apart the conclusion of the tune for about 45 minutes, and it was fast paced and detailed. There were times when I felt I was asking them to do thing they were not used to doing, mostly dynamically. I thought they adjusted fairly well.

Next, I hit a few pots in Amazing Grace. This is a tune the band plays a hundred times a year. I put a little different spin on the end of it, and then we ran it. No problems there. Next came a question and answer session with the band. I felt I answered their questions well. There was a wide variety of things, some general, and some specific to the band. I explained my vision for the band, and some goals to reach. I made sure to let them know that I can put TBB in a high place on my list of priorities and that I was not really interested in fast, drastic changes that might quickly upset the general order of the band.

Now, why did I win the job? I feel certain that two main things contributed highly to this. One was that I can make TBB a priority and they wanted to see me work for them. The other, was that they saw the growth and quality of the youth bands, and many just decided they wanted that for them. My audition was eight years long, in a manner of speaking. Even six months ago, I don’t think anyone envisioned that I would be the next MD, including me. I certainly did not get here by using the youth bands as a place for advancement. This fell in my lap, surprisingly. I really didn’t think I had a chance to win it until I finished my audition. The band seemed to respond well to what I was doing and it was a positive experience all around. I was very encouraged.

This may or may not be why, but it is what I think made the most contribution to their decision. I look forward to making the Triangle Brass Band, and it’s umbrellaed youth bands , the premiere organization of its kind in the US.


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I am about ready to resume posting on my blog on a regular basis.  Sorry if you have missed what I was saying about my world.  It has been very busy, and a lot is going on.  It is time for a transition in my life, and only time will tell waht it is going to be.  At any rate, I will soon be back online.

Bad Weather

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Much, Much disappointment comes with today’s lack of bad weather.  True to form, everyone’s paranoia was elevated at the idea of snow and ice.  I was really looking forward to canceling everything for the day and doing nothing.  Not to be.  Only cold rain came, so its just a crappy day out.  Nevertheless, everything is on a two hour delay.

NCCU Sousa Saga

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As Instructor of Tuba and Baritone (yeah, I know) at North Carolina Central University, I have heard about the sousaphone theft at the school.  There has been a little talk from my students about it over the past semester, but i do not really have a lot of details about it, and I surely did not take them myself.  There was an article on the N & O today, which is prompting the discussion about the situation.  The whole thing is rather amazing to me.  Where the heck are you going to find someone to take 14 state owned sousaphones off your hands?  Why not take them in the cases?  I bet there is a crew of some disgruntled NCCU band members from the past, or s fraternity prank pulled by a competing band at the Honda Classic.    I just don’t know how you would hide 14 sousas.  Not a smart crime.  I hope the band gets the issue resolved.